Dewitt Talmage Lister was born in Harvey Station. He was the son of Earle and Elizabeth (Coburn) Lister. He was raised in a farming community that was famous for its Jersey cattle.
Dewitt began his education in a one room school that housed grades 1 to 8. He completed his education in Harvey Station, doing Grade 9 in the Taylor Hall and then moving in to a new Regional High School for grades 11 and 12, graduating in 1948. Both he and his brother, Bryce, boarded in Harvey during the week, returning home to help with the “chores” on the weekend. After graduation, he and Bruce enrolled in the 2 year Diploma Agricultural Course in MacDonald College, graduating in 1950 with Honours.
Dewitt grew up in a farming community well known throughout Canada and parts of the U.S. for its Jersey cattle. Following his graduation from MacDonald College, Dewitt went as Herd Manager at Fellgarth Fato in Massawippi, Quebec for a year (1952 – 1953). He and his family returned to Saint Andrews, New Brunswick where he worked as Herdsman/Manager at the Bantry Bay Farm. While here for 12 years he developed a Jersey show herd. These cattle were shown and judged at exhibitions in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, the Royal Winter Fair in Ontario, and other venues. The farm originally owned by Rene Redmond was passed on to Margot Mais, his Daughter.
Dewitt was well known throughout the Jersey world as a showman and an expert cattle judge.
After the death of his brother Bryce, Dewitt and family returned to Long View Farm in Harvey to work with his father, Earle, in 1964. Due to health issues, Dewitt was unable to continue farming. Although he continued to manage the farm, the physical working of the farm (by necessity) was passed on to his sons until 1980 when his son, Tom, purchased the farm.
Dewitt was employed from 1968 to 1991 with Provincial Department of Agriculture in Fredericton.
In 1979, Dewitt was awarded the New Brunswick Institute of Agrologists Certificate of Membership and in 2005 he was honoured with a Distinguished Service Award by the Canadian Jersey Association.
While employed with the Department of Agriculture, he filled various positions. In 1982, he became Director of special projects with International Agricultural Projects in Malawi and Lesotho in Africa and Nicaragua and China which he managed until his retirement in 1991 (projects were funded by CIDA[i]).
Dewitt was President of the Canadian Jersey Cattle Club for 2 years (1967-1968), following in his father Earle’s footsteps who was President (1940 – 1941). With this election, Dewitt and his dad became the first father – son Presidents of the Canadian Jersey Cattle Club.
In 1951, Dewitt married Ann (Balch) and together they had eight children – two daughters and six sons, and have a number of grandchildren and great- grandchildren. Dewitt was a devoted husband, father and grandfather.
Dewitt has written an early history of the Jersey breed in Harvey Station as well as a history of the Cherry Mountain Masonic Lodge from 1948 – 1998.
Dewitt was a member and Worshipful Master of Cherry Mountain Masonic Lodge; a member of the Maxwell Lodge of Perfection, King Soloman Chapter, Rose Croix, and N.B. Sovereign Consistory. He was a 33° Mason, a member of the Royal Order of Scotland and a member of the Luxor Temple Shrine Club.
Dewitt enjoyed his membership in the Order of the Eastern Star joining, along with Ann, and then Unity Chapter in Harvey Station. He was a Worthy Grand Patron of New Brunswick in 1984 – 85 and a General Grand Chapter Committee member of General Grand Chapter, O.E.S. 1994 – 1997.
He was very much community minded and dedicated many years to volunteering. He was Past President of the Harvey Curling Club as well as Director and President of Community Days. He was also a door–to–door canvasser for Canadian Cancer (on Frog Lake Road). Dewitt also served on the Board and was Chairman of the Board of Directors for Stanley Mutual Insurance Company.
Church was an important part of his life both in St. Andrews and Harvey. He was a member of Saint Andrews United Church, serving on several committees including Session and was Secretary – Treasurer for several years. He sang in the church choir and was Sunday School Superintendent.
Dewitt was an avid sports fan and participant. In his younger years, he played baseball and basketball. He enjoyed curling and entered into many bonspiels over the years. Dewitt and Ann enjoyed mixed curling especially with friends Eleanor and Winston Rutherford. Dewitt played golf for many years – first in Saint Andrews and then Nackawic. Dewitt loved to watch most all sports on T.V.
Dewitt and Ann travelled extensively over the years, not only work related, but with friends as well and with Eastern Star.
Dewitt enjoyed gardening and taking care of his property. As owner of a camp on Lane 8, Oromocto Lake, prior to having to give it up due to ill health, he hosted many friendly gatherings and family get- to-gethers.
Dewitt lived a long, fruitful and successful life before passing away on December 17, 2012.
[Summary of positions held by Dewitt Talmage Lister ]
Past Master, Cherry Mountain Lodge #5
Member of the Maxwell Lodge of Perfection
Past Most Wise Sovereign, King Solomon Chapter of Rose Croix
Member of Harrington Chapter of Rose Croix
Member of New Brunswick Consistory
Member of Royal Order of Scotland
Honorary Inspector General, 33 degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Free Masonry of Canada
Member of Luxor Temple – Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mytic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S.)
By Ann Lister
[i] CIDA is the Canadian International Development Agency.